Statement of Bryan Apsley

We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.

Dear Residents of Llay,
I would like to be given the chance to represent Llay as a County Councillor in the Local council elections in May. I would like to enhance the work that I have already done for Llay as a Community Councillor for over 20 years.
I have never stood for County Council before as I believe that when you are working full-time, you cannot represent the village as you should. I was fortunate enough to have worked full-time for 51 years. I retired in December 2014 and apart from looking after my grand-children for a short period of the week, I have the time and enthusiasm to give to a very important role if fortunate enough to be elected.
I have lived in Llay for 48 years after marrying Sandra and together brought up 2 children (Michelle and Kevin) who attended the local school.
I’ve been involved in many issues (helped by other Councillors) over those years including of late; youth club facilities after it was proposed to close the Youth Club down, indiscriminate dumping in Llay (e.g. Foregolf), establishing the ownership of Llay Cemetery (along with my wife Sandra), and successfully fighting to keep the Resource Centre and Café open.
There are many issues that are not done to the standards that I would like to see for Llay and given the opportunity would give 100% to achieve major improvements.
If elected I would hold regular surgeries where all were welcome and also publish newsletters. I have represented people for 50 years and have extensive knowledge of Employment Law, some of Criminal Law and also Civil Law. I was a union representative at all levels culminating with 17 years as a Full-Time Officer.
I helped the Youth of the Village by being Secretary/Coach with Llay United YFC for 14 years.
I am a member of the Llay Resource Centre Advisory Committee and currently Chair of LIP after serving them since its conception. I am a member of the Llay Main 50 Committee and helped with the celebrations last year.
I am a Justice of the Peace which again has given me much experience of life and would help me in my role if elected as a Councillor, and in particular with listening skills.
I believe that as a County Councillor we have little connection with National Politics and only to the extent that we have to abide by laws which are made in London and to a lesser extent in Cardiff. If elected, I would promise to do my best for Llay at Borough Council level and would work with anyone as long as it was in the interests and wishes of the majority of Llay residents.
Bryan Apsley

Questions & Answers

1. Often we are told that highways, street lighting, bin collections and anti-social behaviour are some of the issues people care most about. Aside from those what are the key local issues in your ward? (The question below will ask what you think should be done)

I believe in Llay we have: • Housing development plans that if becoming a reality, would cause enormous difficulties with school places, healthcare and traffic issues especially as the new Police Station is being built in Llay • Difficulties in getting medical appointments • Speeding • Dog fouling If elected I would prioritise the key issues depending on consensus of the villagers

2. Further to the above issues you have specified, at a ward level what would you do to resolve these problems if elected?

• Housing developments should be considered as a Wrexham issue and a fair proportion system for all wards should be a priority • Fight for a decent medical centre • Try to improve the police time spent on speed patrols • The dog fouling issue has beaten better people than me but more publicity aimed at social conscience could help

3. As a councillor and as a member of the council what would be in your power, and your priority, to help local businesses?

• There has to be a partnership of all institutions and organisations to work together to develop a skills and economic plan to shape the future of Wrexham • More emphasis on apprenticeships • Try to develop major investment in a link between homes, work and transport infrastructure • Work with businesses to create the real living wage as an incentive to all employees • Work to get affordable homes built in the right places which would create more apprenticeships and local jobs

4. How do you think adult social care in Wrexham should be funded?

• By the Integration of Health and Social Care budgets/pooled budgets • Not for profit Corporations/Social Enterprises • I think the carers are treated very poorly and as a lifelong trade unionist feel that every effort should be made to ensure that their terms and conditions should be first class. Of course if this was achieved the problem of retention would be greatly helped.

5. What do you think is the most urgent thing, in the power of councillors, required to improve the local education system?

• Encourage genuine participation with parents and carers • Establishing an equality of approach to academic and vocational learning to ensure all children are prepared for the requirement of a modern workforce

6. What do you think should be done with the Groves school building, and the site?

I think it has to be used as a centre for lifelong learning and skills training and possibly as an overflow facility for schools under pressure for accommodation

7. What are your thoughts on the housing supply in Wrexham, and if you feel more housing needs to be created in volume, where would that be sited and who would it be targeted at?

• The present tory/independent administration has failed in their duty to produce a local development plan and developers are able to build for profit without caring about community needs • Labour plan to have a development plan that will cover two council terms of office • There is a projected need for over 3000 homes including windfall sites and Labour’s aim is to spread that number over the whole County. • Council houses need to be built to satisfy choice in the affordable housing market

8. On litter and dog fouling enforcement, do you think this should be provided via a third party, and should it be enforced to the letter of the law or in a more lenient manner?

• Wrexham Council need to amend their contract and follow the National Guidance, which the Police and the Council’s own Enforcement Teams work to.

9. Do you favour the current Executive Board system or a politically balanced system? Why?

• I believe in democracy and debate. • The alternative to the Executive Board is a Committee driven structure however this would require monthly Full Council meetings to make the decisions. • I’m told that stifling of debate is prevalent in the current set-up and this power sits with the Chairperson • The current Cabinet Executive Board works in other Welsh Local Authorities so is it the present administration that prevents it working in Wrexham?

10. As has happened in Wrexham recently - if you change political allegiance from what you are currently seeking election for (eg. resigning from, or joining another party) will you trigger a by-election? If not, why not?

I will not be changing my allegiance as has happened in Llay in previous years but definitely feel that anyone relinquishing the banner they have stood for, then that should be an automatic by-election which included those standing as Independents. I believe that legislation should be introduced to make sure that nobody can change allegiance and carry on as if nothing has changed.

11. 'Reshaping' Wrexham Council is a major theme impacting all areas of the local authority. What areas do you think could see deeper savings made and why?

• By cutting Councillors allowances and not being increased as the Tory/independent administration have done • Make Councillors pay for their car parking • Make the Arts Hub live to what Wrexham can afford • Reduce parking fees to encourage people into the Town Centre which would help generate money for businesses

12. With the 'Reshaping' programme, which specific areas would you look to grow and create revenue streams in?

Labour put an alternative budget to Council in February which contained the revenue stream and suggestions including self-financing of departments and job creation where possible. I fully support that alternative budget.

13. The Town Centre Masterplan is an aspirational document which could shape and transform the town centre over the next ten years. What is your future vision for Wrexham town centre, and how will you help achieve it?

• Major consultation is needed with all the public to develop a comprehensive strategy • Make the Town Centre a desirable place to visit • Work with the police to try and create a safe place to visit • The document is aspirational and that is to be commended but the work needs to start now.

14. Many politicians are accused of being out of touch with voters and only surfacing before elections. What will you do to ensure you stay in touch through the coming years if you are elected?

• I would have regular newsletters and surgeries • Be available more often by walking the village rather than using the car • Even if not elected to the Community Council, I would retain that link as they can be the ears and eyes of the village

15. What are your thoughts on the current provision and support for the arts in Wrexham, and what would you do to support the arts?

• The Business Plan for the Arts Hub is continuously challenged by current Labour Cllrs. • It is reliant on 10 years revenue funding of £120k and will also need between £80-£200k subsidies from the Council each year for the next 10 years. • Mark Pritchard under his Leadership has FAILED to move this facility into a Trust, and external funding for the Arts will be more difficult to source for the Council than a Trust. • We cannot be cutting vital Council services to fund this going forward.

16. Wrexham Football Club had been let down greatly before being taken over by the fans themselves. As a councillor what action would you champion to help the club?

• We have to promote it as a Community based facility • We must forge a link with and promote Wrexham AFC to try and secure more international games / events / functions • Strengthen links with the Welsh Government through people like Lesley Griffiths AM and continue to work with Ian Lucas MP, another avid supporter

17. Wrexham's Night Time Economy employs a large number of people and generates revenue for the town. As a councillor what action would you like to see from Wrexham Council to improve that sector?

• The key thing is to work with partners/businesses/Town Centre Forum. If not managed through this partnership, it will inevitably lead to increased antisocial behaviour and crime, and more closed businesses. • It is Important to balance the needs of the night-time economy, the needs of residents and the needs of the public sector.

18. Wrexham Council currently has two Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) in place in the town centre and Rhosddu area. How should anti social behaviour be tackled?

• PSPO’s are reactive and do not address the root causes of the anti social behaviour • We should work with residents/businesses and all agencies to develop a plan of action to deal with the root causes of the anti social behaviour for the PSPO to be truly effective.

19. New Psychoactive Substances are a recent well documented problem in and around town, what do you think is the solution?

• Legal Highs are a form of anti-social behaviour currently rife in our Town Centre. • We need to make people aware of the real risks by education and the real message coming from medical experts and health professionals. • Awareness could be raised through young adult charities, care workers Glyndwr/Coleg Cambria, drop in centres, youth clubs, hostels, sexual health clinics, drama groups, substance misuse groups. • Make children aware through the secondary school curriculum, within the PHSE framework and would cover a great number of youngsters

20. Councillor pay, iPads as tools for the job, and allowances have all been topics of debate over the last few years. What is your view on this?

• Councillors should lead by example as we are all aware of the services being cut • Cllrs should pay for parking • Senior salaries should reflect the current period of austerity and be paid at the lowest level. • Labour want to introduce the leasing of IPad’s which will make future Cllr IT investment self-financing. • The Executive Board should reduce from 10 senior salary portfolio holders to 8.

21. The ownership and operation of Plas Madoc Leisure Centre has been debated over recent years - where do you believe the responsibility for funding and running such public amenities should lie?

• Under the Council, this facility was losing £500k per annum. • In cases where Community based Trusts/Social Enterprises are taking over council services, they should be supported during their start-up phase by the Council. • The Council should be looking at the longer term saving and the priority should be the continuation of the service.

22. What actions would you take, or support, as a councillor to encourage Welsh language use growth? Or, if you are against this, why?

• As a Council, we need to lead by example. The Council needs to embrace a bi-lingual policy for the Welsh language, which in turn improves tolerance for those people who want to learn Welsh, have minimal use of the language or who need a confidence boost. • This should be a priority when allocating funds to learning for all ages

23. Currently Wrexham Council webcast their Full Council, Executive Board and Planning meetings, and some Scrutiny. Would you like to see the webcasting system rolled out to cover all meetings and how else do you think the local authority could involve the public more in the democratic process?

• Yes, Welsh Government provided funding for Council’s to source the technology to enable all Welsh Council’s to webcast meetings. • For transparency, all meetings should be web-casted, including scrutiny.

24. This will be the first time some people are old enough to vote, with that age limit possibly dropping in future. Candidates are on the whole older and male. What will you do to represent a more diverse viewpoint?

• Welsh Labour have put up 39 candidates across the County, our candidates are diverse in age, gender and experience. • I have much experience of working with all ages and gender and will treat all with the same respect

25. What local activity have you taken part in over the last few months to improve your ward? Regardless of if you win, will you continue any such action that benefits your ward?

• I have spent a lot of time along with other Community Councillors in fighting to retain the Resource Centre as a hub of the village • Again with others, have successfully kept the Youth Club going and planning to make this a sustainable achievement as the guarantee for continuation is only 3 years • Through being Chair of LIP (Llay in Partnership) and in conjunction with members, have helped many organisations to combine together to use best practice via a meeting of minds and produced a magazine that lets most of the village know what is going on • Have helped with walking football in the village after sponsorship and organisation was taken away because of the lack of funding. This is a facility that helps mainly senior citizens in improving their medical fitness but all are welcome as age and gender are not a barrier

In a few hundred characters to wrap this up, why should people vote for you?

I have considerable experience of working with people and have the energy and enthusiasm to give the village more of a say than they have enjoyed for several years. The manifesto produced by Welsh Labour is one designed to make Wrexham a place to be proud of and I would attempt if elected, to use the principles contained in the manifesto to make Llay a better place and Wrexham a better Council.

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